With the entire online Bourbon community going through a bit of barrel fatigue, we knew we wanted to shake things up at Mission this summer.
There were so many single barrel offerings from non-distiller producers, private labels, and independent bottlers that tasted the same, over and over again. There are only so many 5-7 year old Bourbons from Indiana that Mission can purchase before our customers begin to burn out on cask strength MGP distillate.
Having a healthy supply of Mission exclusive full proof whiskey isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but were there perhaps some more traditional options that we were overlooking? Maybe we should revisit a few old friends. Maybe there’s a sweet honey barrel waiting for us off the beaten path, where others haven’t been searching as of late.
That’s what led us to Woodford Reserve.
While Old Forester’s cask strength editions have won over legions of diehard Bourbon drinkers over the last few years, Brown-Forman’s other major label has never been able to capture that same excitement. There are reasons as to why. It’s bottled at a more mellow 45.2% ABV, for one. It’s also a blend of two different Bourbons: copper pot-distilled whiskey from Woodford mixed in with standard column still Bourbon from Shively, where Old Forester is distilled. That fact has always been a hurdle for some purists.
Still, with so many consumers hyper-focused on Buffalo Trace and the gravitational pull of the allocated Bourbon market, we thought it might be the right time to revisit Woodford Reserve’s single barrel program. And we were correct. Choosing from a healthy selection of 7+ year old single barrels, we had more fun selecting this Woodford cask than just about any Bourbon barrel we’ve chosen in the last year, simply because of the variety of flavors present and the quality for the dollar.
At $49.99 a for a LITER, not only do you get an additional 250ml of deliciousness for your dollar with this Mission Exclusive selection, you get a richness and roundness not present in any of our current store picks. Don’t get us wrong—we love cask strength Bourbon. Yet, what we love about this single barrel of Woodford is its supple texture and mellow grace. Bananas Foster on the nose with notes of Werther’s Original candy, a soft and creamy palate where the Woodford pot still component is allowed to shine, distinguishing it from other Bourbons with a subtle graininess.
The finish is a seamless session of dark chocolate and vanilla bean with an ending so smooth you’ll need a second sip to confirm its presence. If you’ve taken a flier on Woodford Reserve in the past because the cool kids told you it wasn’t worth bothering with, we invite you to dispel that myth immediately.
This whiskey has summer written all over it. With the hot sun roasting Southern California this week, we’re imagining a number of different cocktails with our Mission Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Given that it’s a liter format, we’ll have plenty to go around!